The retail industry is an ever-evolving market and as a business owner it is important to stay on top of what’s happening in your niche. Leading enterprises within apparel retail not only make it a priority to educate themselves on up-and-coming fashion trends, but also consistently look for innovative ways to meet consumer demands. Below we’ve shared five current retail trends that are appearing in the apparel industry and outlined initiatives that can help you gain a distinct competitive advantage within today’s developing market.
1. Consumers consistently crave customization
Today, customers expect a lot from their relationships with retailers and brands. Each piece of their journey should be customized, convenient and consistent throughout their entire shopping experience, including recognition of their purchase history, preferences, personalized offers, and more. Offering customers these options enables a better understanding of how they interact with the brand and what motivates their shopping behavior.
2. Millennials and boomers will continue to heavily influence retail
Next year, a majority of baby boomers will be in the 60-70 age range, so it is necessary for retailers to cater to these specific customers and utilize initiatives that will make shopping easier for them. Additionally, millennials will also make a major impact in retail, so merchants who want to target this group should invest in mobile commerce as the Gen-Y market segment has the largest percentage of smartphone users.
3. Mobile remains a must-have
Mobile commerce is a mandatory element of providing a seamless shopping experience for customers. This eCommerce approach can allow customers to access your store by way of a mobile-optimized website or a custom built mobile app. Additionally, with mobile POS, you can run your business from the sales floor, ring up items right on the spot, sell from anywhere, connect with customers and manage your inventory.
4. Consumers want to utilize social media as a shopping platform
Over the last several years, retailers have used social media to bring awareness and drive traffic to their brand. By using social media platforms, retailers have shifted from traditional advertising and sales techniques in order to drive customer engagement and attract new customers. However, in the last few months, merchants have added “selling” to the list of functionalities they can do on social sites.
Recently, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest have added “buy” buttons along with the launch of Curalate’s Like2Buy platform on Instagram. Retailers including Home Depot and Burberry have jumped on this trend as both enterprises are currently testing Twitter’s “buy” button while Nordstrom and Target have taken advantage of Instagram’s Like2Buy platform. By participating in this social shopping trend, retailers can eliminate the transition from one channel to the next and purchases will be completed quicker and easier.
5. Shoppers want more than just points for their purchases
The data collected through a POS system can help your business and sales team identify their most loyal customers. However, personalizing consumers shopping experience will no longer be limited to tailored product recommendations and offers. When it comes to loyalty programs, the draw of earning points for their purchases doesn’t appeal to shoppers like it used to. In an effort to deliver more innovative and exciting initiatives to shoppers in the future, retailers will not only reward with points, but consumers will also be rewarded for their engagement with the brand. For example, Walgreens now offers its loyalty members to earn points whenever they participate in healthy activities.
Retailers who progress and innovate in these key dimensions will help protect their business and encourage them to be proactive about navigating today’s retail landscape. In order to help better forge stronger relationships with shoppers to keep coming back, it’s important to stay in the know about the latest trends and do whatever it takes to provide an enjoyable shopping experience for your customers.